Thomas S. Monson, 1927-2018

I put this together several years ago when the Home Teaching message was about President Monson. President Monson set apart my Opi to be a temple president. He performed that ordinance with much of our extended family present and clearly took great joy and delight in the moment. My husband and I also ran into him many years later at a dinner at Grand America. He passed by my husband, who is 6’4″ and shook our hands, telling him “I wouldn’t want to guard you on the basketball court.” His bodyguards, at least two of them, laughed and hustled him onward.

He was a true servant of the Lord and I will miss him.

I love this quote of his that I read this morning on Facebook: “Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.”

Thomas Spencer Monson


Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Thanksgiving Day Prayer


Thanksgiving Day Prayer
by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918)

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

28 Thanksgiving Scriptures and Thoughts


Hey friends! I’m reposting this from last year because I don’t want to replace it with anything better! I still like this printable very much. There are 28 quotes and scriptures on gratitude that can help focus your thoughts this season (and would also be perfect to “ponderize”). Consider this thought from Thomas S. Monson: “My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

28 Thanksgiving Scriptures and Quotes

Every year I struggle to stay fully present through the Thanksgiving season. It’s so easy to get swept up into Halloween and Christmas, but I love the joys of gratitude and abundance that come from a fully realized Thanksgiving. This year I put together a few dozen scriptures and quotes to help me focus on feelings of thanks during the next month. Although Thanksgiving is on the 27th of November this year, there are 28 in total because there are four per page! There’s also a file at the bottom with all seven pages in one file.

Please feel free to print and share. I think these would be lovely to print and give to your Visiting Teaching sisters. Happy Thanksgiving!






Thanksgiving 6



O Home Beloved

Oh Home Beloved copyI’ve never heard hymn 337 at church: “O Home Beloved.” I came across the words this week and they sparked a deep and familiar feeling–that stirring ache for “home,” wondering who is my home, and where. I feel like I’ve always been fumbling for home, trying to explain what home means to myself.

Whenever I feel this yearning, this sense of homelessness, I am deeply comforted by the idea of an eventual heavenly home. A place for rest, safety, comfort. A home where me and my kin will be welcomed in. Joseph Smith preached of mansions above, but it’s the idea of a home in heaven that holds the most pull for me. A soft couch, a warm casserole, the feeling that I’ll never have to leave. That’s home.

As time rolls by, my heart grows fonder and yearns more lovingly for thee…

Why Does a Loving God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

My sister, Kjerstin Ballard, gave this talk over the weekend in her ward in Texas. I am so happy that she generously allowed me to share it here. I like the way she writes and thinks! Her talk makes my heart sing. Her testimony is battle tested, deep and broad. The only thing that would make me happier than reading it is hearing her deliver it. I love this woman.

I think you’ll enjoy the talk, too. There are plenty of fantastic links to scriptures, talks, and books, so if you’d like to delve a little deeper, there is plenty available at your fingertips. Enjoy!

Talk from Kjerstin Ballard

I feel really honored to speak this morning. I have maybe never seen the bishop as visibly excited as he was when he gave me this topic and I hope I do it justice. He asked me to speak on a talk by John Bytheway called “Five Scriptures That Will Get You Through Almost Anything” In the talk, Brother Bytheway starts with an old and persistent theological conundrum: why does a loving God allow bad things to happen?

He says, “We’ve seen it all, from international terrorism to the breakdown of individual families. Innocent people, even children, are not spared. Why do these things happen?”

This question persists, I think, both because evil persists in the world and because it’s a question we all have to re-answer in different ways throughout our lives. The answer for one person won’t be sufficient for another, and the answer we find as a teenager doesn’t often hold water as we grow older.

Which is why I like where Brother Bytheway goes: in answer to this thorny question he provides a list of scriptures that remind us of basic truths of the gospel. I won’t review them all here, but they’re worth looking up.

First, from Nephi we’re reminded that God loves us–“I know that he loveth his children;” he confides to an angel, even as he admits “I do not know the meaning of all things.”

With Enoch, we learn that God allows knowledge and agency which can translate, to even God’s distress, into evil: “Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;”

Alma teaches us about the power of the atonement: “And [Christ] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people”

And, through the D&C, we’re reminded that one day we will know more than we know right now: “Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things— Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof.”

I want to address some of these concepts a little more closely at the end of my talk, because my aim and his are ultimately the same: to challenge all of us to reevaluate the compelling reasons that we believe, and to remember the ways those reasons tie us back to Christ. But first I want to look at the underlying assumptions of the talk. What he’s asking is: what, in the face of the difficult realities of this mortal experience, which we chose knowing it would be difficult, can we hold fast to? Even more basic than that, the compelling message of this talk is: when things get hard, we have a choice to make.

Continue reading…

Next Page »